Presenters think that using interesting backgrounds will make their presentations more entertaining.
Many presenters like to include interesting PowerPoint backgrounds and templates in their presentations, in the hope that it makes them look more impressive, professional and interesting.
Yet just adding nice backgrounds to a slide will not make it a better slide, and it certainly will not make the presentation more effective. In fact, including the wrong type of background in a PowerPoint slide can actually make the slide a lot worse than it would be without one.
What makes an effective background?
Effective backgrounds are subtle and well designed, with colour schemes that do not clash, and that reflect the branding of the organisation using them. At the same time, the colours are designed so that there is sufficient contrast for any text to be clearly seen.
Backgrounds can either be dark or light, but there should always be a significant contrast between them and text or objects placed in the foreground. This is particularly important in presentations, as the projector lessens contrast in colour and images lose their quality when enlarged, meaning that it is much more difficult for the audience to perceive text and objects clearly.
What makes an ineffective background?
The type of backgrounds that are ineffective are those which try to be colourful, as they can be distracting from other information on the slides. The background should remain constant throughout a presentation.
This PowerPoint background, although ‘pretty’, has too much going on. Objects in the foreground would be difficult to see clearly, and the colours are too varied for a font colour to be chosen that would clearly stand out across the slide. To see an example of flowers being included effectively in the corner of a PowerPoint background, check out our flower PowerPoint template.
How important are backgrounds?
PowerPoint backgrounds should not be overlooked, as they can have a big impact on the impression a presenter conveys to his audience. A well-designed slide can make the presenter look professional and competent; a badly-designed slide can make the presenter look like an amateur, and overshadow the presentation content.
Ultimately, presenters should seek to produce backgrounds that are subtle and brand-focused, and that convey a professional image – without hindering the message.
Want some inspiration? Why not check out m62′s range of PowerPoint templates – all free to download and use!
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Brian Fenix, Client Principal, Hewlett-Packard
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